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1  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Dec 13, 2014, 11:09AM
We've "coasted our government hard for 20 years" because we keep giving control, even partial, to a group that doesn't believe government is particulary necessary, and would love to "shrink it to the size it could be drowned in the bathtub". Kinda like giving your car for a brake job to a mechanic that doesn't believe in brakes.
2  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Dec 12, 2014, 05:43AM
Onward- 

Torture

The Senate Intelligence Committee released its exhaustive report on security practices and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques undertaken by US, specifically CIA, agents in the aftermath of 9-11. Its conclusions are inarguable. The US tortured prisoners in its control during this period.

After WWII, the US hanged German and Japanese officers who were found guilty of utilizing the same techniques approved at the highest level of the Bush administration. The US was instrumental in passing the international accords prohibiting such activities in the aftermath of WWII.

For the US to now be so obviously guilty of violating those accords is a blot on our national honor that will be hard to erase. Ever. One measure I heard suggested this week makes sense, and would show the world we recognize we violated what we have so long held out as our core values.

The head of the ACLU suggested President Obama issue pardons to those involved in these programs. The programs are obvious violations of international, and American, law, and our signature on international treaties requires we prosecute anyone who engages in proscribed actions.

Those prosecutions are never going to happen in this country, although Bush, Cheney, et al had best be careful should they ever travel outside the US. Barring those prosecutions, a blanket pardon would have the effect of letting the world know we recognize we violated our core convictions in the confusion and anger after the 9-11 attacks.

It would also have the effect of letting any future administrations that might consider slipping back down that dark slope that there are repercussions and costs to doing so.  No one is ever going to see a day of prison for the atrocities committed in our name. A pardon would at least impose a minimal level of accountability on those who so amorally violated our deepest core values.

            *   *   *

I find myself hoping for a government shutdown. Last night Republicans showed what we can expect for the next two years when they passed through the House a funding bill. In addition to funding most of the government through fiscal 2015, it undoes the protections against Wall St. excesses passed after the 2008 financial collapse, and removes the last vestige of campaign finance control that exists in our law.

Why these are in an appropriations bill is one of the BIG problems with our legislative process. Come on, Liz Warren!!
3  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Dec 12, 2014, 05:42AM
A political conversation is not a conversation of convenience. It is a conversation of voting. It is a conversation of running representative candidates. Of pushing representative laws and focuses. It is a conversation of taking part in broader society at a very intentional level.

And for Ferguson and a number of other places I've seen, that simply hasn't happened.

Per Brown specifically, this is the case they want to make a major incident of? A guy who when stopped was aggressive to the point that he violently assaulted a police officer? That alone speaks volumes. The policeman may have used excessive force, but so too did Brown.

A lot of that can be attributed to 150 years of suppression of the black vote, but I take your point. Black voter turnout in Ferguson was 11% in 2012. one of the positive responses to the Brown incident was voter registration drives at the protests. I read somewhere there was a 50% black voter turnout in Ferguson this year. I'll see if I can verify that. As for who was the aggressor in the incident, that was not clearly adjudicated in the process that was allowed to play out. I can certainly envision a scenario that puts the officer in the role of the aggressor in that event. We'll never really know unless there is a further evolution in the case.
4  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Dec 07, 2014, 08:16PM
I suspect the black community is probably significantly more ready to handle that discussion than the white community is, although I also suspect a majority of both would rather watch Housewives of West Jesus than seriously engage in that dialog. Be nice to have it, though.
5  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Dec 04, 2014, 08:23AM
Hands Up, Don't Shoot!

It is time for all Americans who believe in the concept of “Liberty and Justice for ALL” to stand up and say “ENOUGH” in response to the horrendously biased manner in which our system treats our fellow citizens of color.

In the past two weeks we have seen two examples of Grand Juries refusing to bring charges of any kind against police officers who have killed unarmed black men. This is not an unusual circumstance. I’ve googled it every way I can think of. I can’t find a single incident, ever, of a cop being convicted of a “bad shoot”.

In the first of the two cases, the DA in St. Louis Co., Mo. took on the role of Judge and defense attorney in the Grand Jury hearing the case of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown, rather than fulfilling his role as the prosecutor.  Rather than presenting just enough evidence to secure an indictment, the normal procedure, DA McCullough essentially tried the case with no one looking out for the rights of the victim.

Every agency involved in the handling of the Michael Brown case fumbled their responsibilities from the moment his dead body hit the ground. It is probable the officer would have been found not-guilty, there was enough contradictory testimony and evidence to provide ample reasonable doubt, but, there should have been a trial. The community deserves it.

The second case involved the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the NYPD. In this case there was no contradictory evidence. The Medical Examiner determined the death to be a homicide, and there is a video of police officers choking him and pushing his face into the ground. And yet, the officers face no charges, not even for “reckless endangerment”.

In a five year period ending in 2012, FBI statistics show that a black man was killed by a white police officer, on average, twice a week. That number is almost certainly low, as the FBI only gets data from depts. that voluntarily submit it. Of 17,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide, only 750 participate, so the count is almost certainly far worse than two a week.

“Hands up, Don’t Shoot” is only superficially about Michael Brown. It is now, like “Not One More” for gun violence, a powerful mantra for those who want to see “Liberty and Justice For ALL”.
6  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Obama on: Nov 27, 2014, 04:51AM
Just in the interest of accuracy, the TARP program, done by the Bush and administered by the Obama administrations, was adequate in size, and virtually all the money used in it was recovered by the treasury as the banks regained their footing. It was the stimulus program that was too small due to GOP intransigence and wishing for this Prseident to fail.

7  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 20, 2014, 07:46PM
400'words is not enough!!!

IMMIGRATION

Tonight I am as proud of my President as I was ashamed of his party this last election. Tonight he kept a promise he made six years ago when he sought our support in his run for the Presidency.

 

His lawful Executive Orders on immigration are a long overdue re-calibration of a broken system. He has said all along the proper manner to deal with this issue is for Congress to get its act together and pass a bill. But that is impossible with today’s Republican Party holding control of either house.

 

Over 500 days ago 68 Senators, a veto proof majority, passed a bi-partisan immigration bill and sent it to the House. There is NO question the bill would have passed in the House had Speaker Boehner allowed a vote on it. Had that happened, it would be a signed law, and the President’s action tonight would have been unnecessary.

 

Instead, the tantrum throwing pubescents of the right fringe in the House threatened revolt, and Boehner backed down. The bill never got a vote.

 

So, tonight President Obama did the right thing. He will no longer condone the breaking up of families whose only crime is wanting a better life for their children.

 

“We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration. We need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not on our fears”. It is sad that one of our parties, based on their recent election campaigning, has nothing to offer but fear and hatred.

 

Describing the immigrants, whom many of us know well enough in our daily life, (They are our neighbors and co-workers and friends) our President told it as it is. “They did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came here to work,..and study,… and serve in our military,…and, above all, to contribute to American success.”

 

It is a sad joke to hear Republicans say the President, by taking this action will “poison the well” of potential action by this Congress. For 4 years now this Congress has thrown cyanide into the well on a daily basis. We have experienced the two least productive Congresses for the American people in the history of this country.

 

What Obama did tonight was the same as what was done by Reagan and GHW Bush before him. The difference is FOX News and Rush Limbaugh.

Wake up  America!
8  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 14, 2014, 05:29AM
Variations on a theme:

Turnout

Woody Allen once said, "80% of success is showing up". We have little need to wonder why our government and economy struggle so for success. When it comes to doing our duty to support them by voting, we don't show up. The question is, "Why"?

 

Those on the right have been claiming the results of this last election as a repudiation of this President and his policies. But, only 17% of American voters cast ballots in support of the GOP, and those same voters passed, with wide majorities, every single Progressive ballot initiative that was on a ballot anywhere in the country. That says they voted more on blind ideology and hatred of this President than in repudiation of his policies.

 

So, why did the American voters who turned out in record numbers to elect this President, and the policies and direction he wanted for the country, in 2008 and 2012 not come out in this election. The answer is really quite simple.

 

It was explained quite eloquently in an “Open letter to Democrats From A Disillusioned Young Voter” written by Carl Gibson of Reader Supported News.

 

“…Contrast the unified Republican message with the profound silence from you Democrats on addressing the trillion-dollar student debt crisis, rampant inequality and under-employment, and your collective fear of embracing economic populism, and you cook up what you saw Tuesday night. Older people showed up, highly motivated to elect war hawks. Younger people mostly stayed home, disillusioned with the only alternative on the ballot who didn’t even talk about the issues affecting our lives every day.”

 

“….we even boosted high voter turnout in Michigan for Gary Peters (the only Dem who asked Obama to campaign for him, and the only new Democrat Senator)who made climate change….. his main issue”…. President Obama hit the nail on the head – we won’t show up to vote for you if you aren’t offering us anything real”.

 

The pendulum in this country is taking a long overdue swing back in the Progressive direction. The immense popularity of Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders is a clear indication of this.

 

Advice from Gibson: “Take a risk, be bold. Get behind Warren’s 0.75% interest rate for student loans. Allow student debt to be erased in bankruptcy. Push for single-payer health care……Need some catchy buzzwords? Try, “affordable education, “good jobs”, and “healthy families”.“ Sound advice the Dems should eagerly embrace.

 

Hold on, America!!
9  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Neurology and Political Affiliation on: Nov 11, 2014, 09:55AM
And yet, more and more studies are finding that genetic differences in brain structures lead to inate traits which MAY cause an individual to lean in one or another direction politically. it is certainly a concept wortyhy of thought and discussion.
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/09/03/conservatives-and-liberals-have-different-brains-studies-show/
10  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 10, 2014, 06:10AM
Here are a couple of links that explain the midterms to a Tee:

http://samuel-warde.com/2014/11/open-letter-democrats-young-voter-disillusion/


https://www.facebook.com/OccupyDemocrats/photos/a.347907068635687.81180.346937065399354/733611916731865/?type=1&theater
11  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 09, 2014, 08:51PM
We now feel like we will be represented for once and have people supporting an agenda we share.

How can you possibly feel that way? The GOP has not iterated any agenda of any kind at any time in this election cycle. Their entire message was; "Obama bad, Be Afraid". At no time did they ever offer any concrete policies or positions on what they would do to make life better for the American people.
12  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Neurology and Political Affiliation on: Nov 09, 2014, 08:57AM
Brilliant! /s…One doesn’t have to look  hard to see the wiring of the Radical Liberal prefrontal cortex ( or in most, just the basal ganglia  Evil ).
The Occupiers is one latest manifestation but the 20th Century is replete with examples from Stalin to Mao, etc…

Quite easy to find examples:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/occupy-protests-go-global-turn-violent/


Evolution is not a smooth or orderly process. Stalin, Mao, and whoever you wish to reference as examples, were only flip sides of the same coins.
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Neurology and Political Affiliation on: Nov 09, 2014, 05:52AM
"and, the meek shall inherit the earth....." I believe this describes the dichotomy in this thread pretty succinctly. For most of mankind's evolutionary history, the aggressive, fight-or-flight wirng of the "conservative" brain was a postitive genetic advantage for survival. As our intelligence has developed, those same traits have now become counter productive to long term survival, as we now have technology that would allow those traits, if unchecked, to wipe us out. If we survive as a species it will be because that bibical prophesy was accurate.
14  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 06, 2014, 06:56PM
NO SHOWS

As an example of (supposedly) representative democracy, the USA is an embarrassment. Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up.” It is no wonder the American government and economies are experiencing so little success these days. We don’t “show up”.

More Americans voted for the last American Idol than got interested and motivated enough to vote in last Tuesday’s national election. That says an enormous mouthful about the maturity and priorities of the average American. They are willing to let half of one third, or less than 20%, of our eligible voters determine who sets the rules for and runs our society.

The result is, for the next two years, we will be led by a group whose policies and agenda (one has to assume from past observations since they offered ZERO agenda in the run up to this election) is contradictory to the wishes of most of the American public in many areas. The cognitive disconnect is mind boggling.

For example, the folks who now control Congress are adamantly opposed to a raise of the minimum wage, something supported by over 80% of Americans. Five states, four deep red, one purple, voted by more than a 30 point majority to raise the minimum wage. Yet, the people in those states all voted to send people to the Congress who oppose the concept.

A big factor in that is gerrymandering, which is why we see a 90% re-election rate in a Congress with a 10% approval rating. But the fact most of us don’t bother to vote in our midterms is a far more ruinous contributor.

When large majorities of eligible voters in a society go to the polls the government has a greater tendency to reflect the interests and desires of the majority of the population. We see that in our presidential elections, which generally see turnout in the 65% range (still an embarrassment, but better), and it is evident in the governments of the social democracies of Northern Europe.

Denmark, as one of many potential examples, generally sees a turnout of 85%, or better, of eligible voters in their national elections. They have a minimum wage that is over $20, universal, cradle-to-grave health care, free education through college, and around 90% of their workers enjoy the benefits and protections of union membership. The poverty rate in the country is under 2%. Year after year, surveys show them to be the happiest people on the planet.

And, guess what. There are still plenty of rich people in Denmark, and their corporations make decent, legitimate profits. They are a mature society that has been learning the proper balance between the classes for over 1000 years, and their people know their vote matters in their quality of life.

The true winners in this election were the rich, special interests and their money. That will be true until a majority of Americans learn their voice will never be heard until they use it in the ballot box.

Sleep tight, America!
15  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Nov 06, 2014, 05:10AM
I'm here. I was waiting for someone to start an election thread. Less people voted in this election than voted on American Idol. THat pretty much says all you need to know about the value of this election. As an example of a (supposedly) representative democracy, the USA is an embarassment.We, as a country, are right where the Kochs want us. Distracted and uninvolved. This election was a last gasp, petulant fit thrown by angry, old, white guys in mostly red states. It was a majority of a small minority, and the GOP Senate has a very short shelf life as the map is reversed in 2016, with the GOP having to defend over 20 seats in swing states, and with more and more of their base dying off. We'll see over the next 2 years if they have any interest what so ever in actually governing the country. I suspect they'll try to turn us into a larger version of Kansas.
16  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 31, 2014, 05:54AM
Brownback?
“We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” Or, are we?

By the time you’re reading this the mid-term elections will be winding down, and we will be finding out if the year long, corporate media predicted, GOP wave has occurred. If it has (I still hold out hopes it is wishful thinking on the part of the corporate masters) we will have to be thankful we still have President Obama standing between us and the GOP dystopian nightmare that is today’s Kansas.

After the last GOP “wave” in 2010, Governor Sam Brownback and his deeply red State Legislature passed an economic agenda he claimed would be a “real, live experiment” in the implementation of the kind of tax-cutting policies the GOP has long wished to impose on the country. Four years into the “experiment”, the results have been so disastrous Brownback is fighting for his political life as more than 1oo prominent Kansas Republicans have thrown their support behind his Democrat challenger in this election. By now, he may be a lame duck in the reddest of red states.

Brownback’s “experiment” gave massive tax cuts to the wealthy and businesses, promising, non-intuitively, they would somehow increase revenues. A prime advisor for this train wreck is Arthur Laffer, the architect of the GOP’s long running disaster of trickle-down, supply side economics. To quote Beckett, "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”

To balance the tax cuts the program has also included large cuts in welfare and food stamps programs, the number of state jobs, Medicaid (Kansas has not accepted the federal Medicaid expansion) and education spending.

It has been a disaster. Even with all the cuts to safety net programs and education, Kansas has seen annual budget shortfalls of over $600 million. There are future tax cuts still in the pipeline of this debacle that produce a projection of a $900 million shortfall by 2019. All of the major credit rating services have downgraded Kansas’ rating multiple times.

This story is relevant on a national scale because Senate Minority (Maybe Majority leader if he won his contested election) Leader Mitch McConnell has stated, “This is exactly the sort of thing we (Republicans) want to do here, in Washington, but can’t, at least for now.” And, even with a majority in both Houses, they still can’t thanks to the veto pen held by President Obama.

 

Hold on, America!
17  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 26, 2014, 08:11AM
Sadly, the ONLY things the GOP is offering right now are paranoia, further dismantling of the institutions that make the society work, and continued siphoning of the GDP into the offshore accounts of the top <.01% at the expense of the American Middle Class..
18  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 23, 2014, 07:40PM
BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!

One week out from the mid-term elections, the right-wing scare machine is running in overdrive. Irrational fear over Ebola and ISIL have essentially replaced all other factors, other than hatred of President Obama, in GOP campaign drives to election day.

Of course, they have kinda been forced into it. They can’t very well attack Democrats on the economy, healthcare, or any issue where positive outcomes are possible in the short run (cleaning up W’s mess in the Middle East is going to take generations) because progress is being manifested in all those areas.

They sure can’t run on anything positive they have accomplished for this country in the last decade or so because that doesn’t exist. Their legacy for that period is wars, deficits, widening income inequality, wasted time, hearings, and votes in Congress, and a Government shutdown.

So, despite the fact that since I sat down to write this column, more Americans have died because Republican Governors have refused to accept Medicaid expansion than have died at the hands of Ebola and ISIL combined (that would be a total of 3), we are being deluged with enough fear and hysteria to make Halloween seem superfluous.

We keep hearing folks with pretty much ZERO background or knowledge in epidemiology screaming for a travel ban from West Africa even though every single expert who does have a background and knowledge in the field is saying that would be counter-productive. Shades of climate change.

We continue to be deluged with demands from right-wing demagogues to make sure ISIL isn’t “infiltrating our porous southern border” though our security and intelligence apparatus assures us that is not in their short term plans or capabilities. Yesterday’s incident in Canada should be a wake up call. It is not our southern border we should be concerned about, it is lone wolf actors who have been radicalized here in our midst.

If anything, Middle Eastern illegals would most likely enter the US from Canada anyway, but that doesn’t line up with the Right’s pre-existing fear of undocumented Latinos.

Sadly, it’s probably going to work. Many Democrats, rather than taking the initiative and pounding them with the successes of their policies, are on the defensive and sounding like confused high school debaters.

Democrats hold the winning hand if they would just play it. I suspect fear is going to win.

Wake up, America!
19  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 16, 2014, 08:52AM
Most of the citatons were from Forbes, hardly a left leaning rag. And, again, ALL of those FACTS are easily Googleable. As for unemployment statistics, they have been figured using the exact same data points for over 50 years. When comparing numbers from different years, you are comparing apples to apples. You may want to say they don't measure what they should, but that is a completely different issue.
20  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 15, 2014, 08:44PM
And, on, and on!

JEFF61B

I’m going to take the easy way out in this column and re-print a list I saw of  “14 Facts About the Obama Presidency Most People Don’t Know”. It is a list prepared by someone who posts online under the by-line Jeff61B.

Remember, these are FACTS, not opinions. There is not a single item in this list that is arguable to even the slightest degree. Each and every one of them is absolutely true.

It’s sad so many Americans are so blinded by ideology and hatred, and fed spin, misinformation, and lies, they refuse to see these realities.

1. We've now had 63 straight months of economic expansion.

2. We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.

3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9% and projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015.

4. The stock market continues to set new records since President Obama has been in office.

5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.

6. Under President Obama, spending has increased only 1.4% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.

7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower now than just about any time in the previous 50 years.

8. Our dependence on foreign oil has shrunk due to record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.

9. At least 7 million more Americans now have health insurance than before.

10. The Affordable Care Act has added years to the life of Medicare.

11. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing the slowest rate of increase in healthcare costs since 1960.

12. We currently have fewer soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones than any time in over 10 years.

13. There have been zero successful attacks by al Qaeda on US soil since Obama became president.

14. We now successfully catch and deport more illegal immigrants than ever before.

This is hardly a comprehensive list of the accomplishments of the Obama administration. This is a record the Democrats should be riding like a thoroughbred into this midterm election.

Jeff61B supports his list with multiple, credible sources, but each of these FACTS is easily googled. If you are interested in reading the original article, it can be found at - http://jeff61b.hubpages.com/hub/14-Facts-About-The-Obama-Presidency-That-Most-People-Dont-Know. It’s worth the read.

Wake up, America!
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